What we did for World Mental Health Day 2019
How do we help people to feel hopeful about preventing suicide? That’s what we asked ourselves in the run up to World Mental Health Day on 10th October, the theme of which was suicide prevention.
Part of the answer, we decided, was to show people how they personally can help. Because even though it might seem like something best left to professionals, the truth is that we can all make a difference. Essentially, it’s about showing an interest in how other people are really doing. And being open to the possibility that they are struggling.
Our research suggests that around one-in-three people have felt suicidal at some point in their life. So, it is a pretty common experience. To show how everyone can help with suicide prevention, we produced the WAIT graphic below and unveiled it at our ‘human green ribbon’ event in London’s Trafalgar Square, on World Mental Health Day.
We and many others shared the graphic on social media. It was also published by some media organisations, including Huffington Post.
In Wales and Scotland, we marked World Mental Health Day by projecting giant images of the green ribbon onto prominent buildings in Cardiff and Glasgow respectively. In Glasgow, the projections included messages about suicide awareness and prevention.
You may worry that asking a person if they’re feeling suicidal will put the idea into their head. But be reassured: asking about suicide makes it less, not more likely to happen.
For someone who is feeling desperate enough to contemplate taking their own life, it is an enormous relief to be able to talk about how they really feel.
Our Chief Executive Mark Rowland lost his brother Daniel to suicide. He now asks friends if they have had suicidal thoughts.
“If asking about suicidal thoughts became a normal part of our cultural exchanges – like putting on a seatbelt – I think hundreds if not thousands of lives would be saved,” he says.
Mental health is everyone's business. Help support us by buying a green ribbon for mental health awareness. All proceeds go towards our vital work - the prevention of poor mental health.